Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Review: Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)Title: Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3)

Author: Suzanne Collins

Pages: 390

Source: Personal library

Rating: 8/10

Challenges: Read 'n' Review Challenge

Summary (From book flap):

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans -- except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay -- no matter what the personal cost.

My Two Cents:

I know a lot of people were disappointed in this book as an ending to the trilogy, and I can see where they're coming from, but I quite liked it. Sure, it wasn't perfect and there were things that had me scratching my head, but for the most part, I thought it was a good ending.

I'm not going to give this a traditional review (In my normal style) simply because my thoughts on it are a little scattered still. So, I'll start with the things I liked, then end with the things I disliked.

First, the good

I'm glad there wasn't a third set of Games in this book. First, it wouldn't have fit what with portions of Panem totally falling apart and all, but a third Games would have been repetitive. We just would have seen Katniss fight for her life, again, and maintain her humanity and compassion in the face of evil, again. It was refreshing to have a change from that.

I also liked how you're never quite sure how to feel about Haymitch. He's kind of the Snape character of this series - Is he good and helping Katniss out, or is he bad and serving the Capitol's interests? He's a great character that has a lot of shading to him, and I enjoyed that.

I was glad that Katniss and Peeta spent most of the book apart from one another. Katniss needed Peeta to be elsewhere and in trouble of his own in order to grow up and realize that the world does not revolve around her. I think the loss of Peeta is really what catalyzed Katniss into becoming the leader she needed to be to help out the revolution.

I also was glad the revolution wasn't all sunshine and rainbows (What revolution is?). If there had been no snags within the group, it would have been an unrealistic portrayal. But, Collins has been faithful thus far in making even the most desolate situations realistic, so I don't know why I would have thought maybe she would have slipped up on this one. Either way, it was good to see that even people fighting for a good cause can have their own personal desires and can put those desires before the good of everyone.

The not-so-good

First, what the heck was up with Gale in this book?!?! He suddenly became super angry and violent and just really, really savage, and I didn't like it. He wasn't exactly my favorite character in the first place, but the turn he took in the third book was kind of out of left field. I didn't like it one bit, and I was always glad when the scene would shift and Gale was gone.

To me, Katniss still seemed a little self-absorbed, especially in the beginning of the book. "I don't want to be the face of all this, find someone else" doesn't really work when the people will rally around YOU. Even though you're a teenager and, well, teenagers tend to be a little self-involved, if there's a revolution going on and the lives of everyone you know are at stake, you suck it up and do what has to be done.

The revolution seemed to move a little more quickly than I would have expected, and I think that kind of diluted the effect. There were some big scenes, and some major uprisings in the Districts, but it just seemed as if the whole thing just got started and then it was over. Revolutions are usually protracted and much, much messier than this one appeared to be (Minus the loss of pretty much all of District 12). I think the story would have been a bit stronger if we could have seen some more of the struggling and fighting of the other areas of Panem before the revolution just suddenly ended.

The epilogue just seemed kind of tacked on there. Katniss spends the entire series thinking one thing and saying one thing and, all of a sudden (To us), she totally does a 180 and has this completely different life? I know the epilogue takes place many years after the rest of the series, but it just seemed a little too neat and tidy a way to end the whole thing to me.

If you're thinking at all about reading this series, I would absolutely recommend doing so. It is well worth the investment and will have you thinking and talking about it long after you close the final book.


Jenners said...

This caught my eye while I was poking around and had to see what you thought. You did a wonderfully balanced review ... well done. I was disappointed in this book for many of the reasons you cited ... but I was never a huge Katniss fan to begin with. I liked the first book because of the whole concept of the Games themselves but then it kind of fell apart for me.

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